This month as the weather starts to change, we’ve been turning our attention to Outdoor Play. As adults we go outside for a walk, we tend to choose holidays that are near water such as the beach or a lake so for our children it’s incredibly important to allow them to have time outdoors and allow them to have that connection with nature, whatever the time of year. Here is five simple activities that you can try with your little ones at home in the garden or in any outdoor space. Please share all you fantastic outdoor photos with us on our social pages using #OctoberOutdoors!
1.Our first theme for October Outdoors is Forage, Find, Collect and Sort. This is something children will instinctively do at home. They will put things in bags, collect leaves, shells, and pinecones that they find when they are out and about. Here we have a simple cake tin with treasures children can find in the garden and park. This is great for one to one categorisation, being able to place an object into a hole. It might be a nice way to say to a child, ‘how many are there’, ‘can you find any that are the same’, and then children can sort their findings into different piles e.g. all stones or all shells. This activity allows you to talk about the size of the objects, the colours, and the textures. There is endless amount of plays with lots of engagement opportunities for the children using simple objects they find outdoors.
2.One of the loveliest things about this time of year are the Autumn leaves. Children can sort them in size order. They are also great for looking at colour matching, asking children to find paint colours to match the different shades of the leaves.
3. Our third theme is Embracing the Weather. Many of our Kids Planet nurseries are based in the north west of England and it rains a lot! Like in other countries that embrace the snow, we think it is important to embrace the rain.
Here is a simple water station, all the items such as pots and watering cans can be easily found in hardware stores and garden centres. Using an old piece of drainpipe, children love to pour water through them. This activity is great for cause and effect – by talking about how fast the water moves, children can challenge themselves by building different channelling systems. There is a lot of trial and error involved but children love watching water move and it is a wonderful way to make the most of rainwater and embrace the lovely wet weather we often experience!
4. Mud Matters. One of the things that we all have access to is mud! Mud is such a wonderful resource to use and we have it in abundance. It may seem a little scary if you are not used to getting messy, but children gain so many skills using it! A great activity is mud painting. At Kids Planet, we want to make our creative experiences outdoors completely different to what children can access indoors. So, by taking some mud from the garden, try mixing it up with some rainwater. Great for creative play, mud is also beneficial for mark making – find some brushes and allow children to go ahead and make marks asking them to mark their name or write a letter as they go. Paint can be added to the mud to allow children to look at shades of colour. This activity is great for gross motor movement, allowing children to move their wrists and arms. You can also use a white sheet, hanging it from a branch and allow children to flick the mud to create different patterns and shapes.
5.Our final theme is Connection to Nature. Here is a simple perfume station using some herbs and petals from the garden. Children can tear them apart or crush them with a mortar and pestle. Using glass jars is an important learning experience should they break and so we encourage children to use these items outdoors to help them learn. Children can pull the herbs and petals apart, put them into water and talk about what these ‘magical’ potions would do and what they might turn into. These ideas are brilliant for imaginative play as well as communication around texture, smells, and mathematical language.
If you would like to know more about Kids Planet Kids Outdoors, or if you’d like to take a look around one of our nurseries, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!